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‘A Symbol of Inclusivity’: Buena Gente Golf Infusing Latino Culture into New Apparel Line

The annual PGA Show in Orlando can be a platform for any type or golf company to make a name for itself.
One outstanding example from this year? Buena Gente Golf.
Founded by Jon Madera, Buena Gente — which translates to “good people” in Spanish — celebrates the growing number of diverse voices in the golf community, namely the rapidly growing segment of Latino golfers. The brand’s products draw from both contemporary and classic Latino culture, all in the name of breaking down barriers and stereotypes by welcoming every golfer’s story.
Buena Gente Golf Founder Jon Madera is on a mission to make his apparel brand a vehicle for inclusion.

Jon Madera, founder of Buena Gente Golf, is on a mission for his apparel brand to be a vehicle for inclusion.
Madera was kind enough to meet me recently and share his thoughts about Buena Gente, the apparel industry, as well as how the company is trying to make golf more diverse.
What inspired you to create Buena Gente Golf
MaderaI saw a lack of representation for Latinos within the golf industry and wanted to create a brand that offered a sense d belonging and community for Latino golfers.
I was driven by my passion for design, and my desire to make an impact. I knew I could create designs that celebrate our culture and reflect the unique experiences and perspectives that many golfers with different backgrounds.
How did you start in the apparel business?
Madera: I started designing Latin-inspired shirts seven years ago. This was after I had taken on product design leadership roles in corporate America. It started out as a hobby, but quickly turned into a passion project as I realized the potential for creating designs that celebrated Latino culture in places we aren’t usually represented.

What is your background in golf?
Madera: Although I started playing in my early 20s, it was difficult to find time to play with the responsibilities of growing families and work.  I also had some unpleasant experiences that made me stop putting in more effort to improve my game. 
I’ve been able more time to play golf since I’ve found balance in my life. Even though I’m not a pro, my experiences have given me a unique perspective. I can offer guidance and support for those who don’t want to be perfect. Buena Gente is a place where I believe that, while golf can be challenging it can also be fun and enjoyable.
What is your brand’s mission? 
Madera: Buena Gente means “good people” in Spanish. Our name is a reflection of who we are and how we do things. We have fun, but most importantly, we provide a sense for belonging.
We are committed to promoting diversity in the golf industry and strive to inspire golfers from all backgrounds to embrace their unique experiences on the course.
What was your experience at PGA Show?
Madera: I was aware of the importance research plays in design, so I knew that the PGA Show would give me valuable insight into the industry, help me understand the larger market, and test my message with attendees. I received overwhelming positive feedback and was able to see that my vision and message resonated with a larger audience than I thought.
What are your goals moving forward?
Madera: My aim is for individuals to feel a sense of pride when they enter a golf course’s shop or go to a golf retail store and come across Buena Gente Golf, a brand that represents the fun-loving, charismatic spirit of Latinos and other underrepresented groups from around the world. I hope that Buena Gente will be a symbol for inclusivity in the golf community.
What can the industry do in order to keep the game more varied? 
MaderaDiversity in golf requires that everyone understands and appreciates the unique perspectives and experiences of every player, regardless of their background. Individuals must step outside their comfort zones to gain a deeper understanding of other groups. 
I have extensive experience in running brainstorming workshops and believe empathy and firsthand experience are crucial to achieving this goal. To give you new ideas and perspectives, it is worth visiting courses in areas that are not your usual area.

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